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Awards Ceremony 13th December
 
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to everyone who entered
 
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SHORT STORY: Good Grief by Richard Hooton

 

MUM’S crying buckets. Dad holds her tight. Fat tears soak into his shirt.

‘What’s wrong?’ I can’t hide the tremble in my voice.

They’re silent as stars.

They’d been gone ages. My babysitter Suzie turned up and they rushed out. We normally have fish supper at Gran’s on Fridays but haven’t for weeks. Her house smells of freshly baked bread and she makes the best fish and chips in the whole world. I help her buy cod from the market and she makes batter that’s crunchier than crisps and bubblier than pop and thick chips as fluffy inside as mashed potato. ‘Good grief!’ says Gran, when I wolf the lot with splashes of vinegar and splodges of tomato ketchup. She says that all the time. Dad calls it her catchphrase.

‘We’ve had bad news, Danny,’ says Dad, finally. ‘Mum needs some rest.’ His voice is biscuit crumbly. ‘I’ll help her upstairs, then explain.’

He puts an arm around Mum and they shuffle away as if in the three-legged race on sport’s day. I glance across at Suzie but she’s facing the other way.

‘What’s happened?’

She doesn’t move. I might as well be invisible. I tug her sleeve. She turns and smiles but in a sad sort of way. ‘Your dad will tell you.’ She stands up. Sniffs. ‘I gotta get home. Wait there for your dad.’

She’s out the front door quicker than a comet. The settee’s really big with only me on it. My feet don’t touch the floor; just dangle in mid-air. I do as I’m told but it’s boring so I get up and practice handstands.

After forever, Dad comes back. He crouches. Looks into my eyes. My tummy goes funny, same as being on the Big Dipper.

‘You remember Gran had been poorly.’

I nod. We visited her in hospital. Didn’t like it. All white walls and strange smells and moaning machines and people propped up in bed with tubes up their noses and wires sticking out of them. Gran was very white too and sleepy and thin. They said the hospital would make her better.

Dad clears his throat like my headteacher Mr Burrows making an important announcement in assembly. ‘She’s not in pain anymore.’ His lips twitch. ‘She’s… she’s gone to a better place.’

‘Can we go and see her?’ Anywhere’s better than that hospital.

His mouth copies our goldfish until he says: ‘She’s passed away, Danny.’

‘Gone?’

‘Yes.’

‘I won’t see her again?’

Dad shakes his head.

‘She’s… she’s dead?’ My voice sounds weird. My tummy’s turned to stone. I think of playing cricket and catch with Gran in the park. She’d bowl and I’d whack the ball for six. ‘Good grief!’ she’d say, then lift her skirt and chase after the ball while I counted my runs. She’d throw the ball really high during catch so I could leap through the air to grab it.

Dad nods, his lips curving down. ‘She’s looking over you now – like a star in the sky.’

Gran taught me the names of the constellations, pointing them out. She told me how we’re all made of stardust. The planets and plants and people. When stars die they explode and everything they’re made of is swept out into space and some falls onto Earth to create us. There’s stuff in us as old as the universe and some that’s newer, but everything comes from stardust. There’s a little bit of cosmic magic in everyone.

I don’t want Gran to be so far away from me. I want her here. Now. That stone explodes into fire. Running to my room, I slam the door, then rip up paintings I’d made for Gran as they’re pointless if she’ll never see them. I throw books onto the floor as they’re worthless if she’ll never read them to me. I punch my pillow again and again and again until feathers cloud my room and my arms ache. Dad comes in. Holds me. I cry until my eyes sting and my throat’s sore.

                                                *

‘Great goal.’

Lee would normally shout but says it quietly as if we’re in the library not my room. I’m Ronaldo on FIFA doing all the skills, but I don’t really care. I chuck the controller down. We stare at the computer players carrying on without us.

 ‘How’s it feel?’ asks Lee. ‘Cos I can’t imagine.’

I think carefully. It’s the worse feeling ever. Like when someone makes you so angry you want to hurt them or a teacher asks you a question so hard you’ll never be able to answer or when you’ve lost something so precious that you have to get it back but you don’t know who’s taken it or why. It’s all those things at once.

‘It sucks,’ I say.

‘It’s not fair that I’ve got four grandparents and you’ve got none.’

Gran’s the only one I know; the rest died before I was born. ‘No, it ain’t fair.’

‘You could borrow one of mine. Grandma Joan’s nice.’

I don’t want someone else. I want my gran, just the way she is. ‘Wouldn’t be the same.’

Gran once told me we should wish upon a star cos when they sprinkle stardust it can make dreams come true. But it didn’t work last night.

Lee’s face lights up as if the sun’s burst through the closed curtains. Then he says something even more delicious than Gran’s fish and chips.

‘I know how we can get your Gran back.’

                                                *

Smudge loops around my legs in a figure of eight, looks up with big green eyes and meows. Gran’s cat is living with us. I’ve fed her, stroked her and let her in and out. I know what she wants but I can’t give her that. Not yet.

‘Feed Smudge please, Danny.’

Mum’s at the kitchen table with a pile of papers, busy planning Gran’s funeral. It won’t matter once I’ve got Gran back. Lee said not to tell my parents our plan in case it doesn’t work but it will. You can bring anything to life with a bit of stardust, Gran would say. It’ll be an amazing surprise. They’ll be so happy.

I pour Smudge some more milk. She stares at it like it’s a dirty puddle. Wanders off. Knew she wasn’t thirsty.

A knock at the backdoor. I open it to find Lee standing there, hands in pockets. He only lives across the road.

‘I’m going out, Mum.’

‘Who with?’ She lifts her head.

‘Just Lee.’

She looks back down. ‘OK. But no further than the park.’

I say nothing. Best not tell her we’re going way further than that.

                                                            *

I stare at a rusty rowing boat tied up by the riverbank. ‘That’s it?’

Lee nods. He’s two years older than me so knows loads more. I’m not allowed by the river cos it’s dangerous but this is important. Water speeds past, foam leaping over rocks to wave goodbye.

‘Where’s the oars?’

‘The flow will take you.’

Under a grey, cloudy sky, it doesn’t seem possible. Then the sun appears, sparkling on the water, and a dragonfly flutters past and everything seems magical. If Gran can be taken, then I can bring her back.

I squelch through mud towards the boat. Lee grabs my arm. ‘Not ʼtil tonight. The entrance only opens in darkness.’

Even though it’s warm, I shiver. Not the dark. My head drops. ‘I can’t do it.’

‘It’s the only way to get your gran back.’ Lee’s really clever, he’s always reading and watching things about ancient history, so I trust him. He’s told me what he knows. It’s all planned.

I breathe so deeply I might suck in the clouds. ‘I’ll do it.’

I think of Gran waiting for me. No backing out now. Can’t wait until it’s over.

                                                *

The dead of night is so dark and mysterious. Everyone’s asleep, the house quiet. Red numbers on my alarm clock glow 23:40. I slip out of bed, put on my tracksuit and trainers, open my window and drop onto the kitchen roof. I jump to the garden below. Lee’s at the bottom of our drive, a backpack slung over one shoulder.

‘You OK?’ He gives the sort of smile Gran did before my first day at school.

‘Yeah.’ I swallow. ‘Let’s go.’    

We run along lamppost-lit lanes. Lee helps me climb over a fence to the path leading through the wood where the river is.

We stop.

Can’t see a thing.

Tears fight me. ‘Fallen at the first hurdle,’ Dad would say.

Lee rummages through his bag. Pulls out two torches. Hands me one. ‘Here. Follow me.’

Even with Lee lighting the way, it’s horribly dark. When we reach the boat I don’t know whether to be relieved or more frightened.

Lee pats my back. ‘Not much time.’

I grab the rim and yelp as splinters stab me. Lee motions at me to climb aboard. I haul myself into the boat, which creaks and groans as it bobs on the water. In the torchlight, the wooden boards look half-eaten. I sit cross-legged, hoping it doesn’t sink.

I stare at the stars with longing. There’s magic in their sparkle. I make a wish.

‘Did you bring it?’ asks Lee.

I unstrap the watch Gran gave me for my birthday.

‘Break it when it reaches midnight.’

It’s my favourite thing. Tells the time in twelve countries, has a countdown and a calculator. I hold it up. Seconds count away. It reaches 00:00. I slam it down. Smash.

I turn over my hand. The screen’s all cracked. The display’s stuck at zero.

‘Did it work?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Good. That’ll suspend time.’

Something makes a sawing noise. I turn. Lee’s using a breadknife to cut through the rope tying the boat to the bank.

‘Aren’t you getting in?’

‘You have to go alone.’ He sees my face. ‘I’ll be here when you return.’

The rope splits. The boat wobbles, then drifts. I glance back. Lee gives a thumbs up and a hopeful smile. Gets further and further away until he joins the darkness. A lone owl hoots.

I pick out the seven stars of the Plough, the boat bobbing towards them. Gran once told me that some people think the bowl of the Plough represents a coffin and the three stars marking the handle are mourners following it.

I flash the torch around. Eyes glint beneath the water. I bite my lip. Look up. Branches lunge out like crooked arms trying to grab me. The boat rocks as I cower.

The torchlight flickers. Goes out. Everything’s black. I whack it against my palm. It blinks then fades again. Battery’s dead.

I lie back. Close my eyes. Something crackles in the undergrowth. Something else bumps the bottom of the boat. It sways, water splashing over the rim, soaking me. I shiver in the freezing night air. I’ve never felt more alone and terrified. It’s worse than the dentist and he has massive needles.

I hear Gran’s voice repeat what she once told me: ‘If you’re ever frightened or in pain, think of your favourite things until it passes.’

I remember Gran looking after me when I had the worst earache in the universe. She stayed up all night, stroking my hair, singing songs and showing me the stars until the stinging had gone and I was cosy and dreamy.

I huddle up so I’m safe and warm. The river calms. The boat glides. The world sleeps.

                                                            *

A big bang. Scraping. The boat jolts, catapulting me forward. I open my eyes. Stars spin. The boat stops and so do the stars. We’re stuck against the bank. I crawl out into sludge.

Then I see them.

A group of ghostly figures led by a tall, muscly man holding a golden wand. Scrambling over sticks in the mud, I join them until we reach another riverbank.

It’s worked!

The muscly man leaves and a bony man in a dirty cloak and pointed black hat stands between us and a bigger boat. He lets some aboard but shakes his head at others who wander away. He reminds me of our school caretaker who never lets us play football in the playground after school. ‘It’s closed,’ he always barks. ‘Away with yer.’

I put a coin from my pocket into my mouth, trying not to gag at the metal taste.

‘Payment.’ His voice is gravel rough. He smells worse than Dad’s socks.

I stick out my tongue. He takes the 2p coin off it with long, grimy fingernails.

‘Not an obol.’ His eyes are blacker than the coal we put on Gran’s fire. He holds up a large hammer. I gulp, the grim taste of copper filling me.

‘It’s worth more,’ I say, loudly and confidently, just as Gran told me to at choral speaking.

His hooked nose wrinkles. His bushy beard jiggles. His wolf’s ears twitch.

‘Charon only accepts obol coins to cross the Acheron.’

If he won’t let me on then I’m trapped between two worlds. Flies buzz around him.

‘That’s your payment,’ I yell.

His eyebrows raise, eyes bulging. His lips stiffen, crusts of dirt falling from his cloak. He puts the coin into a little pouch. Steps aside. Gran was right. Sometimes you have to stand your ground. I leap aboard. Give a fist pump. Then sit down.

No-one talks. The only sound is the splashing of the big stick the ferryman pushes the boat with. We near the other end. I gasp at giant, glittering gates. Either side, walls stretch as high and far as I can see. Hideous monsters roam the bank: men with horses’ bodies; a scaly, nine-headed, dragon-like serpent; and a fire-breathing creature with a lion’s head and goat’s body.

If they’re on the outside, what’s inside?

The boat stops. The dead get off, ignoring the monsters as they trudge through the gate.

I follow.

A huge black shape leaps in front of me. Roars louder than war. The ground quakes. I fall backwards. A three-headed dog the size of a bear, inches from my face. Six fiery eyes. Dozens of sharp teeth. A trio of snarls shower me with saliva. A cobra for a tail spits venom. I’m ice lolly frozen. It will eat me alive.

But every time it lunges, it’s pulled back. A chain wrapped round its neck secures it to the gate. Same as our neighbour’s Rottweiler: however much I taunt, it can’t get me. I hope.

I crawl away. One heads howls. Another growls. The third whimpers.

‘Cerberus won’t let the living pass,’ says a soft voice. ‘Or the dead leave.’

Perched in front of a golden chariot, with yellow daffodils bowing before her, is a lady even prettier than Suzie. A crown of white flowers curtsies as she scoops shimmering seeds from a ruby red fruit. Her toga is the light green of the tree’s round leaves beside her. Clinging onto each branch, like baubles at Christmas, are bubbles containing dreams being played out as if they’re Disney films.

‘I’m Danny.’

‘I’m Persephone.’

‘I’ve come to take my gran home.’

She looks sadder than Mum and says with a sigh: ‘Don’t enter the Underworld or you’ll never leave.’

I pull my mobile from my pocket. I’m not allowed a smartphone, which ain’t fair, so it can’t Google, but it can record things. I find a recording. Press play. A piano tinkles. I raise the volume as Gran sings. ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star.’ Her voice is duvet soft and warm. ‘How I wonder what you are.’

Dad says Gran’s always been a good singer. He recorded her singing me to sleep when I was a baby and put it on my phone for when I can’t nod off. By the song’s end, Persephone’s asleep. Cerberus is lying on the floor, giant paws sprawled out. One head yawns, another slumps, the third slouches. All six eyes close, the snake tail resting against his back. The hell hound snores even louder than Dad.

It’s worked just as Lee said. I hesitate. No going back now.

I pass through the gates into the Underworld. It reminds me of Castleton’s caverns: vast, hollow and murky, the walls wet and slimy, the ceiling a night sky with no moon or stars. Miserable figures drift through the dark.

This is no place for my gran.

Three winged women in long black robes barge past, one dragging a weeping man. Snakes wrap their waists and writhe in their hair.

One turns to me. She’s the spit of my teacher Mrs Broomfield. She looks angrier than when I farted in class and everyone laughed and she had to shout ‘settle down’ several times and even then there was giggling. She’s holding a whip.

‘Have you committed a crime against your parents, child?’ she hisses.

I didn’t tell Mum where I was going. My face burns. They’ll think I’m guilty and drag me away. I remember Gran teaching me how to play cards. We started with Snap, then Whist and finally Poker.

‘Don’t ever bet against your gran,’ Dad warned.

‘Always keep a blank expression,’ Gran told me. ‘Never give your hand away.’

I’d practice and she’d shout ‘Poker Face’ and we’d sing Lady Gaga and dance like crazy people.

I put on my best Poker Face and shake my head. Not telling ain’t the same as lying.

The woman glares into my eyes as if searching my brain.

‘You’re innocent,’ she splutters. They haul the weeping man away.

I head deeper and deeper, down dingy tunnels, across rocky slopes. I can’t see Gran anywhere. I’ll never find her. I’m lost here forever.

I sit still. I think I’m going to cry.

Then I see three men, wearing silver crowns, studying some papers.

‘Excuse me,’ I say. ‘I’m looking for my gran.’

They stare. One’s similar to Uncle Bernard: beardy and bumbling.

‘We judge the heart of every soul here to decide where they go,’ he says. ‘What is your grandmother’s name?’

‘Rose Wilson.’

He searches the papers even slower than Uncle Bernard would. Finally: ‘Ahh, yes. I was about to judge her.’

‘What’ll happen?’

‘If she led a righteous life she will enter the Elysium Fields. If deemed evil she will be cast into the depths of Tartarus, as far beneath the Underworld as your Earth is beneath its sky.’

‘She’s the nicest person ever.’

‘That’s for me to decide.’ He studies the yellowed document. ‘There is no greatness achieved here that grants Elysium. Perhaps she belongs in the Asphodel Meadows with the ordinary.’

‘She’s not ordinary. She’s the best cook in the world, the best teacher in the world, the best goalie in the world. She’s a superstar.’

He traces words with his finger. ‘There are some misdemeanours here. Perhaps eternal punishment awaits.’

‘She’d never hurt anyone.’ I stamp my foot. ‘Your judgements don’t matter anyway. I’m taking her home.’

I charge past them.

And there she is! Sitting in her rocking chair by a crackling coal fire, a ball of wool on her lap, knitting needles going click-clack-clack. Looks as if she’s making me another sweater.

‘Gran!’

The rocking chair squeaks to a halt. Gran peers over her glasses. ‘Good grief! What are you doing here, Daniel?’

‘I’ve come to take you home.’

She sparkles and shines as she stands. I run into her arms. Her hug’s snugger than ever. I don’t want to pull away. But there’s a demon behind her chair who’s ripping the flesh from dead bodies.

‘Quick, Gran. Follow me.’

I run. She stumbles behind. ‘Slow down, Daniel. I’m not as fast as I once was.’

            I glance back. The demon looks up from a pile of white bones licked clean. Its red eyes flash.

I take her hand. ‘It’s not far, Gran.’

We pass the three judges. Gran sticks her tongue out at them. I can hear hooves scrambling behind us. The gate’s in sight.

‘Nearly there, Gran.’

It’s gaining on us. Just get her through the gate and we’re safe. I let go of her hand to sprint.

Then shudder to a stop.

It’s locked.

A shadow falls across my path. A tall man steps in front of me, dangling a key. The demon’s at his feet.

‘I am Hades and this is my realm. No soul can leave here.’

‘I’m taking Gran back where she belongs.’

Hades sniffs. ‘You are living. Hades is solely for the dead. You can leave or exchange places with the old woman. Only one may depart.’

I’ve no tricks left. I have to choose.

I think of Mum sobbing. Gran looks after everyone. She’s wise, kind and helpful. Mum really needs and misses her. Gran’s way more important than me. I cause trouble and do naughty things and break stuff. They won’t miss me.

‘I’ll take her place.’

‘Very well,’ Hades whispers with all the warmth of winter.

He reaches for the gate.

‘Wait.’ An out-of-breath Gran’s caught up. Her hand grabs mine. ‘I can’t let you do this, Daniel.’ She smiles with all the sparkle of summer.

‘He’s made his decision.’ Hades opens the gate.

‘If you make my grandson stay here you’ll have me to deal with.’ Gran rolls up her cardigan sleeves. ‘And my bite’s worse than any three-headed hound.’ She looks at me with contented eyes. ‘I’ll be alright, Daniel. There’s nothing to fear or doubt. I’m going to join your grandad. You never met him but you’d have got on so well.’

‘I can’t leave you, Gran.’ Tears drip down my cheeks. Gran pulls her flower-patterned hankie from a pocket and wipes them away.

‘I’ve enjoyed a fulfilling life. Yours has yet to begin, Daniel. Your mum would miss you more than you’ll ever know. You’ll grow up to be clever, brave and compassionate. Go live your life to the full and make me proud.’

I plod through the gate and turn to face Gran knowing it’ll be the last time I ever see her. It’s as if that demon’s ripped my tummy out.

The gate clangs shut.

Gran waves, smiles, then disappears.

Persephone and Cerberus sleep on. Charon takes me back to the other side. It’s still night. I push my little boat from the bank and curl up inside with my eyes tight shut. Lee said the river is circular so will take me back to my starting point. I’m exhausted. I drift away.

                                                *

‘Danny!’

Someone’s shouting.

My eyelids scramble open. The sun’s in the sky. Birds chirp.

‘Danny!’

I peek over the boat’s rim. On the bank are Mum, Dad and Lee. Not sure this is where I set off from?

Using my hands as paddles in the cold water, I steer towards them. The boat reaches the side. Dad and Lee grab it and I jump out into Mum’s arms.

‘You had us worried sick.’ She’s crying again. ‘Don’t ever go off like that.’ She won’t let go. ‘We thought we’d lost you.’ Maybe Gran’s right. Mum would miss me.

As we walk away, Lee pulls me to one side. ‘Did it work?’

I look at my broken watch and shake my head, letting it hang all the way home.

                                                            *

Smudge is a warm, furry cushion curled up on my lap, purring. Mum’s given me so much cocoa I could be a hot water bottle. She’s sweeping dust from the floor.

‘I wanted to bring Gran back.’

‘We know,’ says Mum gently. ‘Lee told us everything when we couldn’t find you this morning.’

‘I failed.’

Mum reaches over and strokes my hair. ‘Gran will always be with you.’ Her hand moves over my chest. ‘She’s always in here.’ She taps a finger on my forehead. ‘And in here.’ I gaze up at her. ‘Whenever you need your gran, that’s where you’ll find her.’

I stroke Smudge the way Gran used to: around the top of her head, down her back – never touch the tail – across her side and under her chin. The purring gets louder. ‘Good grief!’ I say. Smudge looks up with satisfied eyes that remind me of Gran.

Mum smiles at me. ‘Your gran used to say that we can still see the stars that burnt out so long ago, that their light stays with us.’

I think about it, smile back at her, then add: ‘And they make us what we are.’

 

POETRY: Summer Lightning by Dagne Forrest

summer lightning.jpg

i

 

We are in spite of what we don’t know.

Like the fabric of dark matter

we can’t quite grasp or prove.

Scouting deep underground

to lift a fundamental theory

of our universe to more than just

accepted rumour. Our physics

make little sense without dark matter,

we’ve come to depend on it, though

we’ve never touched or seen it.

One mile down a former gold mine

in the Black Hills of South Dakota

we stand sentinel. Watching for

the tiniest flash in a tank of xenon

like waiting for summer lightning

over the cloudless prairie landscape

that sits silently to the east.

 

I’ve never been to the Dakotas

or the prairies, but I’ve been to the edge

of a vast northern lake, a mirrored flatland.

 

I played cards with my grandparents,

my father, as lightning raked the sky

and the open water below it.

 

The cottage is gone, my family too,

but the lightning stayed with me.

 

ii

 

We are in spite of what we do know.

That someday we’ll cease to be,

some sooner than others, some

quite carelessly. That over a lifetime

something like a single milligram

of dark matter will pass through

each of us, even though we can’t

see it, will never touch it (and it

may not even exist, though we believe

it must). That imagining ourselves into

the middle of a cloudless field

on a summer’s day, waiting for lighting,

might seem foolish, but could be

the most exquisite thing we ever do,

We’ll never know why or how to explain it.

And maybe we don’t need to.

 

            I was never a mother until I was.

            My children replaced everything

            until I needed some of it back.

 

            One rare night this summer we were

visited by sheet lightning and fireflies –

fool’s gold or truth, it didn’t matter.

 

It may never happen again.

It may always be happening again.

 

SCREENPLAY: WISH BY BETH GLEESON

Wish Screenplay

SONGWRITING: GARAGE DAYS BY MATT WIXEY & YOU ARE THE LIGHT BY JMO

 

GARAGE DAYS BY MATT WIXEY

Up ‘til 2K3 or so, UKG was the way we’d go

Too fresh 2step beats, Crazy Love and sweet

That music, man, those basslines

Those old and soulful vocals

And you and I were old-school, the way we used to be

The way you would Body Groove for me

The Sunshine never stopped, never abated or faded

Young forever, ageless, like that Dorian Gray kid

Nothing was ever Complicated or tainted

Ain't No Stopping Us

We were too hot to touch, and too much was not enough

In those winding summertimes

Your summer eyes summarised in summer rhymes

Let's Re-e-wind

You were my Desire, my Joyrider, toying with fire

You’d say "The Boy Is Mine"

The Dirty Life never tired

"And we really liked it, it was, it was wicked"

Should have known it might not live that long

But I saw you Flow to a hundred different songs

A hundred different days

The melody caressed you, seemed to undress you

Like liquid when you moved that way

You were my Garage Girl

And I thought we’d make it Through The Rain

The way we used to sway.

 

 

 

#

But then, unannounced, the beats began to change

Went from 2step bounce, to obsessions with game

To reckless and relentless invective and rage

When So Solid fucked up garage, and made a new hybrid

Our songs combined with violence:

Wot U Call It? Grime?

It was all Moving Too Fast, Straight From The Heart

Right around then that it all came apart

Strange and changed and strained and so painful

Out of season and place, Sometimes It Snows In April

No more Flowers in the pouring rain

And now the thought of us is torturous

It’s scorching in flame

How it felt to Rendezvous, how it felt to stay with you

How I was amazed at you, you coursed in my veins

And I ain't blaming you

We just grew apart, grew up and drifted

Full of bitterness that the world had shifted

Better Late Than Never, we severed us together

Split as an item

I heard the pain in your voice glitter

Like splintering diamonds

And what had been intimate and intricate

Delicious and shining

Became vindictive and spiteful, vicious bitching and whining

That late summer heat changed to raging winter sleet

Mutating and debasing what had made us complete

And making stale what had once been so achingly sweet.

 

 

#

And when I saw you recently

These memories didn't even begin to come easily

The you that you were ain't the you you are now

You've changed so unreasonably, altered unfeasibly

And maybe I should have been there for you when you needed me

And maybe you should’ve been there for me when I needed you

And I don’t mean to needle you

Or put the squeeze on you

But I see the years have treated you

Like a voodoo doll with needles eased through you

Your lips are thinner, and your eyes are bitter

And your hair don't shimmer

That's all in my rearview

And my movements are blurred, and I’m slurring my words

And my nerves are burst

And it’s difficult to hear you

Not 'cause I’m deaf, but your voice has died a death

It don't speak to me no more

And all I have left

Are memories, and numerous enemies

And a sniper’s breath

Which comes from years of war

And now in your gaze it’s not the same eyes there at all

It's just ice, and ice is cruel, eyes of icicles

You brought me to my knees back in high school

But now garage is dead, the beat don't go on

And all because of you, I can’t listen to those songs

They taunt me in my brain, songs of summers now through

Those haunted garage days, when I fell in love with you.

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YOU ARE THE LIGHTJMO
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